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‘Scented products add to air pollution’

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    8th Dec, 2020

Use of hair sprays, hand sanitisers etc emit the same amount of chemical vapours as petroleum from vehicles, even though 15 times more petroleum is burned as fuel

Context

Use of hair sprays, hand sanitisers etc emit the same amount of chemical vapours as petroleum from vehicles, even though 15 times more petroleum is burned as fuel

About

What is the concern?

  • The use of scented goods (including things such as perfumes, hair sprays, air fresheners, and paints) emit the same amount of chemical vapours as petroleum from vehicles, even though 15 times more petroleum is burned as fuel. 
  • Each spritz of perfume contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Air pollution affects around the 90 per cent of the world, according to the World Health Organization.
  • This burdens the consumer with a huge responsibility in choosing the best for themselves as well as the environment.
  • Products emitting the least amount of VOCs are a need of the hour. Its effect could be severally reduced by using indoor and outdoor plants.

What are volatile organic compounds?

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids.
  • VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
  • Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to 10 times higher) than outdoors. 
  • VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.
  • These chemical vapours, known as volatile organic compounds, react with sunlight to form ozone pollution, and, react with other chemicals in the atmosphere to form fine particulates in the air.
  • Organic chemicals: Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products.
    • Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and to some degree, when they are stored.

The process

  • After spray, the VOCs respond to ozone contamination while reacting with sunlight and other chemicals in the atmosphere.
  • Even though drivers can use gallons of gasoline each week, it’s stored in an airtight tank.
  • It is burned for energy and converted mostly to carbon dioxide.
  • The carbon dioxide emissions are not smog-forming VOCs, though they are a major driver of human-induced climate change
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